How to optimize your ecommerce - Quebec Retail Council

How to optimize your ecommerce business for 2022

As the ecommerce landscape has evolved, so have the expectations of consumers. The acceleration of ecommerce has led to increased online shopping and a new wave of more savvy and experienced online shoppers. With ample choices at their fingertips, it’s critical for retailers to identify the key tactics and features they can leverage to drive conversions. You’ll need to make your brand stand out to online shoppers to enable your business to capture your share of spend.

In 2022, online shopping will continue to be a popular choice among Canadian shoppers. In fact, 89 per cent of Canadians expect to maintain or increase their online spend in the coming months. To help you navigate the changing expectations of online shoppers, we’ll explore some of the top factors and unique features that drive Canadian online shoppers to take the final step to complete their purchase. Use these insights to optimize your ecommerce customer experience and minimize cart abandonment in your customers’ journey.

Entice shoppers to choose your business

To influence customers, you need to understand what drives them to make certain decisions. Canada Post conducted research to find out why an online shopper chooses one e-tailer over another. A few key themes stood out:

  • Cost of shipping
  • Shipping speed
  • Transparency around delivery and returns
  • Rewards and loyalty programming

Pay attention to these and adjust your operations and strategy accordingly to nudge more consumers to complete their purchases.

Cost of shipping

Not surprisingly, cost of shipping continues to be the most important factor for online shoppers with 80 percent saying that the cost of shipping influenced their choice of retailer. Free shipping continues to be highly influential but it’s a good idea to offer shoppers options. To make free shipping possible for your customers and feasible for your business, you can set a minimum spend threshold or offer free shipping for standard shipping times vs. paid faster delivery time options.

Online shoppers will try (almost) anything to get free shipping, and 77 per cent will abandon their cart if an option for free shipping isn’t presented. Here are their top strategies for attaining it and what you should consider offering to meet their needs:

  • 52 per cent will add items to their cart to reach a free shipping threshold.
  • 36 per cent will search online for a promo code.
  • 36 per cent will choose the slowest transit time.
  • 34 per cent will ship to store.
  • 30 per cent will wait for a free shipping promotion.

Shipping speed 

Though free is the optimal shipping option from a shopper’s perspective, shipping speed influences over half of online shoppers as well. Balancing cost and speed entails giving shoppers choices. You can offer them either free or fast shipping at a cost to suit both shopper preferences.

Transparency around delivery and returns

Transparency matters. 68 per cent of online shoppers choose retailers that manage their expectations throughout the delivery experience. Keeping shoppers informed from start to finish allows them to feel confident in their purchase and secure in your ability to deliver.

Do not underestimate the impact of your return policy. Like shipping policies, free is not the only goal – the process needs to be simple, too. While 61 per cent of Canadian online shoppers will select a retailer because they offer free returns, 56 per cent value easy returns and 44 per cent value flexible return options.

Shoppers want to feel comfortable with their purchase and trust that you will ensure their satisfaction, so offering flexible returns is advisable. It takes the fear out of purchasing something sight unseen. This could mean considering an extended returns timeline during high volume shopping periods, allowing returns by mail and in store and ensuring your shoppers have what they need to make returns with no added work on their end (such as including a return label with their original shipment).

Rewards

Rewarding customers and offering promotions is key when it comes to capturing shoppers’ attention and dollars. Just under half of Canadian online shoppers told us that they were influenced by loyalty and rewards programs. To tap into this trend, create a rewards program with unique offers designed to incentivize online shoppers to buy from you. For example, you could reward customers who are part of your loyalty program with free shipping – hitting two key factors at once!

Overall, offering flexible options, and being upfront and transparent with important information, is critical to attracting shoppers while also managing their expectations. With shoppers focusing on costs and clarity, make sure you’re meeting their expectations.

Offer standout ecommerce features to optimize your customer experience

Web-savvy shoppers can be a difficult bunch to impress. During the pandemic, Canadian online shoppers cultivated new shopping behaviours and expectations. In addition to the table stake ecommerce features that deliver on Canadian online shoppers’ expectations and drive them to shop with you, you have other opportunities to stand out and enhance your online experience:

Coupon codes

73 per cent of consumers are motivated to buy via coupon codes from e-tailers. Consider leveraging coupon codes during slower sales periods to incite purchases. You can even tap into customer data to create targeted coupons that move specific stock based on previous purchases. This will boost your business while surprising and delighting new and old customers.

Product reviews

It’s all about building trust. By displaying your product reviews for customers to see, you show customers that you have nothing to hide. 59 per cent of consumers are influenced by product reviews. They don’t all have to be five stars – honest reviews turn heads.

Price-difference refunds

Is there anything worse than the realization that you’ve overpaid? Consider offering your customers price-difference refunds when they find a lower price elsewhere. This will help build trust and attract 54 per cent of consumers.

Attainable free shipping thresholds

A free shipping threshold is designed to support your customers and your bottom line. Try to make it easy to reach to attract 61 per cent of consumers.

To win their dollars, they want you to provide unique features, capabilities and experiences to entice them and make your business stand out from other e-tailers.

Flexible checkout and payment options

When it comes to checkout and payment, offering “buy now, pay later” flexible payment options is considered unique by 72 per cent of consumers. Not sure how to offer that? Companies like Afterpay and Paybright can assist you. 51 per cent also noted that they enjoy the ability to pay using their digital wallet.

Enhanced inventory availability and visibility

When it comes to managing and sharing your inventory, there are things you can do to entice shoppers to buy from you. Generate buzz and demand for new items by enabling customers to pre-order your products. 61 per cent of customers said that the ability to pre-order items prior to release was a unique feature that appealed to them.

Avoid an unpleasant surprise in your customer journey by sharing your inventory across your online channels to keep consumers in the loop about what’s available. 48 per cent appreciate when brands display their inventory across their channels.

Final thoughts

We hope these tips help you generate more sales, provide an excellent shopper experience and earn customer loyalty in 2022. Use these insights to put your customers first and position your business to avoid abandoned carts, make more sales and reap the rewards.

Source: Canada Post. 2021 Canadian Online Shopper Study, 21-205, April 2021.

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